Rafa says it is a ‘confidence’ issue with Dwight Gayle as top goalscorer position comes under threat
In the four and three quarters games that Newcastle have played since Dwight Gayle was forced off injured at Brentford after 28 minutes, United have picked up four wins and a draw in the Championship.
In the number nine’s absence NUFC have scored nine league goals, with a number of players sharing the load – Ritchie (4), Murphy (2), Perez, Mitrovic and Shelvey.
Despite the results, Dwight Gayle is a massive miss and wins such as Saturday at Wolves have been very much down to the quality of defending.
So will Newcastle’s top scorer be back on Tuesday night at Carrow Road?
Rafa Benitez on Dwight Gayle availability for Norwich:
“It depends on him.
“He is training with the team and he has trained OK.
“But sometimes it is the confidence of the player, so we will see how he feels.”
It is difficult to imagine Dwight Gayle going straight into the team even if he does pronounce himself ready, with Rafa likely to start with him on the bench to protect his prize asset as much as possible – especially as there are now seven games in these next three and a half weeks.
With each missed game the talk of breaking Newcastle, and other, records has diminished and Gayle now sees the pack closing in as well.
Championship Top Goalscorers – Up to 13 February 2017
Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United) – 20 goals
Played 1,750 minutes at average of 88 minutes per goal.
Chris Wood (Leeds) – 18 goals
Played 2,379 minutes at average of 132 minutes per goal.
Tammy Abraham (Bristol City – on loan from Chelsea) – 18 goals
Played 2,515 minutes at average of 140 minutes per goal.
Glenn Murray (Brighton) – 16 goals
Played 2,181 minutes at average of 136 minutes per goal.
Scott Hogan (Brentford/Aston Villa) – 14 goals
Played 2,423 minutes at average of 166 minutes per goal.
Sam Winnall (Barnsley/Sheff Wed) – 12 Goals
Played 1,854 minutes at average of 155 minutes per goal.
When it comes to the other three divisions, their top strikers on 13 February 2017 are:
Premier League – Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) 17 goals at a rate of one every 126 minutes.
League One – Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) 20 goals at a rate of one every 135 minutes.
League Two – John Akinde (Barnet) 20 goals at a rate of one every 135 minutes.
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